The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (29 points, 8 assists), Meyers Leonard (17 points) and Shabazz Napier (15 points, 7 rebounds).
The Pelicans were led by a big night from Cousins (38 points, 8 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (17 points, 7 assists).
At a quick glance, two things did Portland in tonight - three point shooting and Boogie Cousins.
With Anthony Davis yet again sidelined against the Blazers, this time with a groin injury, it was all Cousins all the time mode for the Pelicans as he decimated Portland for all 34 of his minutes that he was on the floor. Terry Stotts threw a variety of defenders his way, including an encouraging showing from Meyers Leonard, but none managed much more than agitating the brutish center as he at times looked unstoppable.
The strategy clearly looked to be to try and frustrate Cousins with physical play and perhaps a little bit of extra-curriculars, and for the most part the mission was accomplished, it just didn’t pay dividends. Boogie is a guy who can live or die by his emotions, but unfortunately for Portland, tonight he thrived.
The near boxing match with Cousins came to a boiling point towards the end of the third quarter when both teams traded questionable flagrant fouls on back-to-back possessions, with Boogie seemingly taking exception to both:
If the Blazers managed to get the ball out of Cousins’s hands, New Orleans usually made them pay with a three. The Pelicans put on a clinic from deep, going 15-31 as a group and thoroughly outshining a lousy 11-35 Portland effort. Even Rajon Rondo was getting in on the action. New Orleans actually managed to shoot better than 50% both overall and from beyond arc until the waning moments of the contest as Portland’s defense just had no answer.
CJ McCollum continued his shooting slump, going only 8-22 from the field including 1-6 from range for 17 points.
Jusuf Nurkic found himself in foul trouble early and never really recovered his rhythm, scoring only eight points on 4-11 shooting.
The Blazers didn’t get run out of their own building - the outcome wasn’t fully etched in stone until the final seconds - but there aren’t many positives to take away either. Portland will need to just forget this one ever existed and move on.
The Blazers get a couple days off before hosting a rematch with the Washington Wizards Tuesday night at the Moda Center - tip is set for 7 p.m.